Trump administration's new proposal aimed at helping coal industry

Cooling towers are reflected in a puddle at the American Electric Power Company's coal-fired John E. Amos Power Plant in Winf

New EPA proposal aimed at helping coal industry

Trump "talks tough to the coal miners to get their support, but he doesn't deliver for them, and I don't think that he can, because the markets are bigger than him", said Joe Pizarchik, who directed the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement in the Obama administration.

Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler signs an order withdrawing an Obama era emissions standards policy, at the EPA Headquarters in Washington.

The Trump administration will reverse an Obama-era coal emissions rule as part of its effort to loosen restrictions on the coal industry, just days after a USA government report warned that aggressive action is needed to curb greenhouse gases and ease the impact of global warming.

Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the change would help the coal industry by alleviating unnecessary burdens. "We're not trying to pick winners and losers".

"Today's proposal is nothing more than another thoughtless attempt by the Trump Administration to prop up their backwards and false narrative about reviving coal at the expense of science, public safety, and reality", said Mary Anne Hitt, senior director of Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign. Moreover, Holmstead said, there has never been an application for modifying or reconstructing a plant under the section of the Clean Air Act the rule is based upon.

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The previous standard set a limit for new plants of no more than 1,400 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour (MWh).

Under the Obama regulation, plants were to cut their carbon emissions by using some natural gas, installing some carbon-capture equipment, or changing to more efficient technology that is not yet widely available.

Moody's Investors Service forecast that some 35GW of capacity from coal and nuclear plants was now scheduled to be shut down over the next five years. "This is economic opportunity for a region" that needs it, Perry said. Todd C. Young, R-Ind., last month proposed legislation that would provide loan guarantees and other incentives for the construction of new coal plants.

President Donald Trump has made bringing back the coal industry and abundant coal jobs a tenet of his administration. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat and member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said in a statement.

Asked if the EPA had an estimate on whether the new proposal would result in many new coal plants being built, Wheeler said that was not up to the agency.

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But coal industry officials believe this rule change will still help.

McCabe called the emissions standards set during her watch "appropriate", and said the Trump administration will likely have to defend in court its reasons for easing them.

"With today's action we have leaned forward to address the various states' issues, while appropriately ensuring that we will continue to be focused on meaningfully addressing the threats to the Greater Sage-Grouse", Bernhardt said. "They've been giving nothing but this signal with rule after rule after rule". Maybe this is one rule that will actually have no impact on the United States because maybe we're not dumb enough to keep building new coal fired power plants and we understand that it's time to move on from the same fuel method that our ancestors used to use.

According to the Energy Information Administration, US coal consumption is at its lowest since 1939.

Thursday's announcement comes two weeks after a report by the EPA and 12 other federal agencies warned that climate change caused by burning of coal, oil and gas already was worsening natural disasters in the United States, and would cause hundreds of billions of dollars in damage each year by the end of the century.

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